notated for "Pianoforte" in dark brown ink on three systems, a piece in binary form, comprising eight and twelve bars, each marked with repeats, twenty-one bars of music in all
1 page, oblong 4to (c.25.5 x 33cm), 10-stave paper, verso blank, Vienna, April 1863, slightly worn with splitting at folds, small tears to margins
This manuscript contains the piano part for the opening section of the quartet, equivalent to the first two pages in the first edition. Brahms does not mention Goethe's 'Wechsellied zum Tanze' on this album-leaf; nor is there anything on the manuscript to indicate that it is taken from a larger work. The manuscript dates from about a year after Brahms's arrival in Vienna: he was to live there for the rest of his life.
Brahms sent Clara Schumann a setting of a "Wechsellied" on 11 September 1860. It was evidently a vocal piece, one of several sent in a package to mark her birthday. However, Clara's somewhat critical reply on the 16th, suggests Brahms was likely to have revised it. Her brief quotation of the ending ("der allerletzte Schluß") does not quite accord with the published quartet, and uses the wrong key signature.
The vocal quartet 'Wechsellied zum Tanze' op.31 no.1 was first performed in a private soirée on 18 December 1863, eight months after the date on this manuscript, and the two remaining quartets were apparently written only six days later. It seems not impossible that Brahms developed or revised the 'Wechsellied' not long before the performances, after this manuscript, but the evidence to show this is lacking. The Drei Quartette op.31 were published in 1864 from Brahms's Stichvorlage, which is lost. The dedicatee of this leaf, Franz Jüllig (d.1886), was also known to Schumann and Liszt; he published the famous "Rakoczy" March in 1843 in his Ungarische National Melodien. Also included is a musicological note about the music by Dr. Hedwig Kraus (1895-1985), archivist at the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna.
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